Rising from a Stumbling Block

I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise” Abraham Lincoln

When working towards a goal, there will be moments when you may hit a stumbling block. I had a moment like this last Friday when I learned that one of the medical schools I had applied to sent out their interview invites…but I did not receive an invitation. There were only 5 spots available at this medical school for an out-of-province applicant like me. Still, I was really hoping to get a positive response from this school.

I haven’t officially received a rejection and there is still hope that an invitation could come if someone else declines their interview. But somehow the news hit me harder than I expected. In fact, it felt like I hit a brick wall and my confidence in my abilities plummeted.  I decided that I had to tackle my state of mind and not let myself get into a downward spiral of negativity. Obstacles will come our way to test us and when they do, we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep going.

My brother encouraged me with these words, “Tomorrow is a new day and you are blessed…Let’s keep going until we find out where we’re sending you to become a doctor!” and my husband said, “This is not the end…you will get where you are meant to be.” 

I will now have to wait until January for news from the other medical schools I applied to. The wait feels painstakingly slow sometimes but I know that I just have to be patient. My prayer has always been that we will end up at the right place for my family and I to flourish.

It’s not always easy to talk about our obstacles and challenges, but it can really help to tap into our support network to give us encouragement when we feel that we are running out of steam. Rejection or failure can be such a discouraging feeling, but it is not the end. It is only the beginning of another chance to find the path to success.

So don’t give up, don’t give in to the voices in your head telling you that you cannot do it. You can! Don’t be afraid to talk about your struggles. We need others to help us get back on track and get our eyes fixed on the prize. Whatever your goals may be, don’t let the amount of time it is taking discourage you from continuing. You will get there eventually and it will be worth every effort you put in!

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated” Maya Angelou

Image courtesy of powerlisting.wikia.com

Image courtesy of powerlisting.wikia.com

A Fruit a Day…What Does it Mean to be Long-Suffering?

Welcome back to our study on the fruits of the Spirit. We are almost half-way through the study, having already tackled love, joy and peace. Today we get to look at one that I find particularly difficult to achieve in my own life: FORBEARANCE.

My thoughts on Forbearance

When I think of forbearance, the first thing that comes to mind is putting up with someone or something difficult. Forbearance is not a word I use or come across often so I had take more time than usual to research this.

Merriam-Webster Definition of Forbearance

The definition of forbearance is ‘the quality of someone who is patient and able to deal with a difficult person or situation without becoming angry‘.

Synonyms for Forbearance

Long-suffering, endurance, fortitude, living with restraint, temperance, tolerance, leniency, mercy

Greek word for Forbearance

I had an interesting discussion with my husband about this. One of the ancient Greek words used for forbearance is makrothumia which means “long-tempered” (as opposed to short-tempered). What struck me about this word is that it does not mean we are to never get angry but rather that there can be a “slowness” to becoming angry. There is an element of forethought and consideration before we react to something.  So how does this relate to the concept of forbearance or long-suffering? If we are being patient with someone who really does not deserve it, then we are challenged with the task of exercising restraint and not getting angry with them easily. So much easier said than done but it is one of the fruits of the Spirit so something I intend to work on!

The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament describes forbearance as “God delaying his wrath”. So once again, there is an element of “delay” and not acting out on our first reaction or impulse.

Favorite verses on Forbearance

  • Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” Eph. 4:2
  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone”. Col. 3:13
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Final thoughts on Forbearance

The concept of forbearance or long-suffering is a sensitive area. It can be hard to find a balance between being patient with those who do not deserve it versus becoming a door-mat for someone. It can also be a challenge to try and put up with a difficult or inconvenient situation without getting upset or annoyed. How do we find balance? How do we know when enough is enough? I don’t think there is an easy answer to it. All I know is that I can certainly do with some improvement in this area. I get impatient with my children sometimes when I could be more tolerant of their tiredness or moodiness. It’s easy to get upset about traffic, about someone being insensitive, or about plans not unraveling as intended.  Makrothumia means not reacting angrily to the person or situation but patiently bearing it for the moment. It’s not easy, is it?

Forbearance or self-control is the ability to exercise restraint, to stay in balance. It is disciplining yourself to be measured and temperate in your response to trying circumstances. It is being patent and even keeled while enduring hardships. It is having the ability to constrain your own worst impulses and allowing thoughtful, wiser aspects of yourself to govern what you say and do. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Forbearance protects us against doing harm on impulse in the throes of anger or fear. Since so much of virtue is about finding a balance point between two kinds of excess, forbearance helps to keep us close to the center of our better selves.” –Wisdomcommons.org

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net